You can count on Civic, the wisdom goes, and countless drivers have since 1972, to reliably get them from A to B in relative comfort. If that sounds like faint praise, it’s not— creating a vehicle that can hold the kind of market share that the Civic has claimed over decades of production is no mean feat, and the car is clearly a keystone in the pyramid of Honda’s extremely well respected brand.
On the outside, the new Civic is a declaration of independence from the aesthetic drudgery of the outgoing model. Where the Civic previously seemed designed to make the Civic feel dashing, the new Civic is a more much more au currant with the subtly chiseled, but not intimidating good looks of someone’s dad on a TV sitcom. You know the face, but the name might not be in RAM. Except with Civic everyone knows it’s name since, well, the car is pretty much inescapable.
What isn’t inescapable is the conclusion that the Civic’s a tad wider and adds to the wheelbase and width of the car— the backseat and the boot are improved by this revision, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing at first glance. And anyway, you’re more likely to be pondering the familiarity of the car, as it is firmly ensconced in the Honda design language, echoing the smoothing out and sprucing up of the mega-marque’s entire product line. Occupants will enjoy a modicum of spaciousness and premium comfort with improved headroom, legroom, shoulder clearance and side head clearance. Fit, finish and material quality throughout the cabin has been improved and soft touch materials are applied to the instrument panel, front door and door inserts and center armrests are padded.
I have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of several Honda models, including one rather scarce in our market: the CRV. What I love most about the CRV and similarly outfitted Honda's is the simplicity of pairing Bluetooth with the infotainment system. I’m a bit of a podcast addict, and when I drive the CRV I simply hop in the car and whatever tunes or talk I was last enjoying resumes streaming from my phone, so it was great to finally put this feature to the test in the Civic, and it was great.
In addition to Bluetooth, you get a 5 inch touch screen audio in the LXi and a 7 inch touchscreen audio in EXi and RS cars. All Civics get 60:40 fold down rear seats, rear seat armrest with cup holders, rear ventilation ducts, sun visor extension mechanism and map light. Convenience features include Remote Engine Starter which starts engine from a distance, ensuring favorable automatic climate control regulating cabin temperature ensuring maximum comfort before you get in.
Smart Entry, Push Button Start also adds to comfort and sporty feel, Electric Parking Brake replaces hand lever with compact, easy to operate switch, the Automatic Brake Hold function eliminates the need to keep the foot on the break when at a hill or an intersection, Auto Day and Night Rear View Mirror, Walk Away Locking, Cruise Control, Electronic Power Steering and Rear Parking Sensors. The EXi and the RS grades in addition to sunroof has Honda Lane-watch feature which uses a camera located below the passenger side view mirror to display an expanded rear view of the passenger side roadway on the 7 inch touchscreen.
Multi-Angle Rearview Camera that gives a look of three different viewing angles which can also be seen on the same 7 inch touchscreen.
With the Civic you can choose either the LXi and EXi grades, powered by the new 2.0L DOHC inline-4 engine with i-VTEC engine producing a peak of 158 hp, 187 Nm torque. Or, the RS grade is powered by Turbocharged 1.5L DOHC, direct-injected inline-4 engine with variable Valve Timing Control, churning out 180 hp and a 220 Nm. Both engines are mated to a new generation Continously Variable Transmission. Civic's new CVT has a taller final gear ratio for fuel-efficient low-rpm cruising, and new-generation G-Design shift logic for smooth acceleration and natural throttle response. The fuel efficiency of the LXi and EXi grades are at 18.8 KM/L and the RS grade is 20KM/L.
Anyway, unless you’re a tuner, this car isn’t really about getting anywhere at break neck speed, as much is it is about having a car that’s always going to get you there. Seriously, your grandchildren can probably drive your Honda if they haven’t got the whole jet pack/teleporter thing down by then.
This new car is stiffer than it’s predecessor, and the electric steering is well articulated from top to bottom of the speedo, and generally reflects the fact that this much maligned (but ubiquitous) technology is generally improving.
All told the new Civic hit the main marks for any redesign— it’s unequivocally better than its predecessor. That said the model occupies a prominent space in an extremely contentious segment. Will that change? Not overnight and not without a fight if the current model is any indicator.
By: Adel Habib | Photos: Malek Fayoumi